Monday, February 24, 2020

Thursday, February 13, 2020

medical update: I have been diagnosed with a brain tumor

As you are aware, a one day trip to the Mayo Clinic this week has turned into a four day trip.  I want to begin by saying I have so much gratitude in my heart for the wonderful medical professionals I've been able to work with through this entire process...such a great blessing in our country, and the Mayo Clinic is certainly a bright spot in our world.  My family doctor, Dr. Keith Landry has been wonderful, as well as my cardiologist, a Roncalli dad, Dr. Michael Barron.  I have a nurse, Lauren Alcorn, that has been such a kind help through all that has come up these past 12 months.  That care has continued here at Mayo.  Each person has played a key role in this process, and I am very thankful and amazed by the state of medicine in the US in 2020.

While the MRI that I had at St. Francis in December was thought to reveal a stroke, a second MRI that I had here at the Mayo Clinic showed that the affected area of my brain had not changed hardly at all over the last two months.  My Mayo Clinic doctors have said that a stroke would have already started to heal significantly in those two months, so they were able to say definitively that what I have is a brain tumor.

That certainly is a serous diagnosis, but I actually feel very blessed by the path that they have laid out for me, and the prognosis is very good.  The path involves the removal of the tumor and then possible radiation and chemotherapy to make sure that any remaining cells are taken care of.  Both the radiation and Chemotherapy that I would potentially do are not the severe forms that certain cancers call for, so I'm very thankful for that.

The path:

1) I can function as normal for the next several weeks

2)  I will travel back to the Mayo Clinic for a brain tumor surgery that will happen Friday, March 13th.  The expected time in the hospital is actually surprisingly short.  Brain surgery actually requires a lot less physical recovery than surgeries like open heart.  There may need to be an extended stay if physical therapy or speech therapy is needed.

3) The surgeon said that typically after only 6 weeks a person is back to normal.

One question that I thought it would also be helpful to address: "is the tumor cancer?"  Because of the fact that the tumor has been fairly stable for two months, they are very optimistic that it isn't any kind of aggressive cancer.  It may be a low grade cancer, but even if it is non-cancerous, it is still best to remove the tumor as it would still eventually grow and start to cause problems.   

One request: When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the Church.  I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that.  I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly.  I would love to have a list of victims of priestly abuse that I could pray for each day.  I would like to dedicate each day of this recovery/chemo/radiation to 5-10 victims, and I would like, if possible, to even write them a note letting them know of my prayers for them.  IF YOU KNOW OF A PERSON OR YOU ARE A VICTIM YOURSELF, with the victims permission, please send me the name and, if possible, a mailing address so that I can send them a note, that would be much appreciated.  my email address is fatherjohnhollowell at protonmail.

Also, I would like to pass this word on to SNAP, so if you know someone that is in leadership for SNAP, please let them know I'm interested in speaking with them to see if there's some way I could get the names of people to pray for and, if possible, send a note to in the midst of all of this. 

In closing, I am very much at peace.  Other than time in the hospital, the only effects of this tumor that I have had are 5 episodes of spasm/seizure that have each lasted 90 seconds.  I also realize I am blessed to have uncovered it through this process vs. finding out about the tumor down the road after it had grown more in size.  

You all will be in my prayers, as I pray daily for the salvation of all the souls of those who live and study within my parish boundaries.  

May Our Lady of Lourdes watch over and intercede for all those who are sick or suffering in any way!